As MCTs are absorbed directly in your gut, taking MCT oils at a high starting dose will almost always cause gastric distress.
The recommendation is to start with the lowest concentration of MCT, and slowly increase the dosage until you reach the desired maintenance dose.
If you’re starting out, this is the recommended path:
- Cold Pressed Raw Virgin Coconut Oil
- MCT Oil
- C8 MCT Oil
Cold Pressed Raw Virgin Coconut Oil
Cold Pressed Raw Virgin (CPRV) coconut oil contains about 55% MCT’s and is the least irritating to the gut. This is also the recommended oil to begin with. It’s readily available at your local supermarket’s Organic section, or Oils section.
One side note, check that it’s unrefined coconut oil. Supermarket refined coconut oil, although odourless, is primarily used as a cooking oil and may not have the benefits of included MCT’s.
Most brands of MCT oil contains 95% MCT’s, and 5% residual LCT’s. This is the ideal supplement to those seeking to train their bodies to increase ketone production. It is absorbed rapidly, directly in the intestines without needing to go through digestion, and its effects can be felt 20-30min after ingestion.
MCT oil also has a thermogenic action on the body, by increasing the body’s basal metabolism, felt by a slight increase of body basal temperature. This increase aids the body to burn more energy.
Those who need an additional boost of energy before particularly strenuous gym workouts or endurance runs can also consume MCT Oil 30min before the session. They will find it easier to last through the session as there are more ketones in the bloodstream the body can tap into during the session.
C8 MCT Oil
C8 MCT oil contains 100% MCTs, comprising of 95-99% C8 (Caprylic Acid) and 1-5% C10 (Capric Acid). There are much fewer choices of C8 MCT Oil as most people stop at regular MCT oil.
C8 MCT oil is high-purity high-absorption MCT oil, because it doesn’t contain C12 at all. C12, although classified as an MCT, behaves like a LCT in the digestive process, as it needs to be digested before it can be absorbed and converted into ketones.
How Do I Take MCT Oils?
As MCT oils have the bad rap for causing gastric distress, taking too high an initial dose can send you running to the toilet, ending with a nasty liquid explosive experience. As such, care should be taken to gradually increase the amount of MCT’s until you reach the desired amount.
As MCT oils are absorbed directly in the gut, they are best taken on an empty stomach, before food, three times daily. MCT oils can be consumed while you are on a fast, as it will not break your fast (it does not spike a huge digestive action, causing hunger). Here is a suggested journey for gradually working MCT oils into your lifestyle.
- Start out with 1 dose of 5ml coconut oil per day on an empty stomach for a few days. If you experience gastric distress, take it with one of your meals. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 5ml coconut oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. If you experience gastric distress, decrease to 2 doses for a few days, then increase to 3 doses. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 10ml coconut oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 15ml coconut oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step. You DO NOT NEED to finish the rest of your coconut oil. You can use it in cooking, to dress your salads, or to make yummy fat bombs.
- Switch to MCT oil (C8+C10). Start out with 3 doses of 5ml MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 10ml MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 15ml MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step. You DO NOT NEED to finish the rest of your MCT oil. You can consume 15ml 30min before particularly strenuous gym workouts or endurance runs.
- Switch to C8 MCT oil. Start out with 3 doses of 5ml C8 MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 10ml C8 MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. Observe for gastric distress. If you do not encounter any sensitivity, you may proceed to the next step.
- Increase the dosage to 3 doses of 15ml C8 MCT oil per day on an empty stomach for a week. As the body increases its absorption rate of MCT oil, you should not be experiencing any gastric distress by now. Even if you do, it should be a random sensitivity which should go away the next dose.
- You should not need more than this dosage, and can continue consuming the same dosage of C8 MCT oil for the rest of your ketogenic lifestyle.
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides. Most MCT oil are refined coconut or palm oils where the Long Chain components are removed.
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. You may also see them called MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). They’re “medium” because they only have 6-10 carbon atoms.
MCTs are a form of saturated fatty acids and consist of four different types based on their carbon length. MCTs are the ideal source of energy because they don’t rely on other enzymes for absorption in your body.
The oil is made from pure MCTs extracted from whole foods, specifically coconut and palm oil. It’s not coconut oil, but a byproduct of it.
The Different Types of MCTs
MCTs are known for being quickly absorbed by your body and metabolized into energy in the liver. They’re the most efficient saturated fats in terms of energy production.
They create ketones, an energy molecule. Ketones are an amazing source of energy for your body in comparison to glucose because they produce far less molecules that react with other molecules when they are metabolized.
There are the four MCTs found in food:
- Caproic Acid (six carbons)
- Caprylic Acid (eight carbons)
- Capric Acid (10 carbons)
- Lauric Acid (12 carbons)
#1 CAPROIC ACID (C6)
If you’re wondering why your MCT oil tastes a bit off or creates a tingle in our throat, it most likely has too much caproic acid (C6) in it.
While it doesn’t taste the greatest, there’s usually not enough of it in coconut oil or MCT oil to taste it. It converts quickly to ketones. C6 makes up about 1% of the total MCTs in coconut oil.
#2 CAPRYLIC ACID (C8)
Caprylic acid makes up 12% of the MCTs in of coconut oil.
This type of MCT helps you maintain a healthy gut thanks to its strong anti-microbial properties. This is the most efficient fatty acid after C6 because it converts rapidly into ketones in your liver.
#3 CAPRIC ACID (C10)
Like C8, C10 turns into ketones quickly in the liver. It’s a little bit slower than C8 during the ATP process, and makes up 10% of MCTs in coconut oil.
#4 LAURIC ACID (C12)
Lauric acid makes up 77% of MCTs in coconut oil. Like its fellow MCTs, lauric acid has antimicrobial properties (kills microorganisms or stops their growth). However, unlike the last two mentioned, lauric acid has a slower metabolization process.
Some people debate the fact that lauric acid should even be considered a MCT due to it’s larger size and longer time to metabolize. Lauric acid is the most inefficient of all the MCTs because it can’t be turned into energy as quickly as the others. Because of this, you won’t find it in a high-quality MCT oil.
The shorter the carbon chain, the more efficiently the MCT will be turned into ketones. Fatty acids with longer carbon atoms are metabolized much slower.
Here’s how LCTs compare to MCTs:
Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil
The main difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is their MCT content.
Coconut oil is 55% MCTs, while MCT oil is made 100% of MCTs.
Furthermore, coconut oil contains all 4 medium-chain fatty acids, including large quantities of lauric acid, the least efficient MCT. MCT oil only uses the two most efficient MCTs for energy: caprylic and capric acid.
MCT oil is actually a byproduct of coconut oil. You could think of MCT oil as the fast lane to getting the most efficient fats from coconut oil.
Here’s how both compare:
Coconut oil and MCT oil have different benefits.
If you’re looking to stay healthy and simply add more MTCs to your diet, coconut oil is enough.
However, if you’re looking to gain all the advantages of pure MCTs and fuel your body with ketones, MCT oil is the best choice.
Characteristics Of MCT Oil
A high-quality MCT oil will have some distinct features:
- Tasteless: MCT oil doesn’t have a taste or smell because it’s removed during the “bleaching and deodorizing” phase.
- Liquid at room temperature: The final product has a lower smoking point than coconut oil, so it will be liquid at room temperature.
- Highly absorbable: A quality MCT oil will quickly turn into energy. Generic MCT oils could be blended with lauric acid or other fats to cut costs, making your supplementation ineffective, so always know what you’re buying by reading labels.
- Highly soluble: The small size of the carbon molecules in MCT oil increases its solubility in water and biological fluids like blood.
Why MCT Oil Is The Ultimate Energy Source
When your body uses ketones as its main source of fuel instead of glucose (from carbs), it can enter and remain in a state of ketosis.
MCT oil is powerful because it helps make ketones readily available for your body to use, making ketosis easy to achieve and maintain.
Unlike almost all other foods, the two MCTs used in MCT oil are swiftly absorbed and metabolized as energy in your body, making them the perfect fuel.
Because they’re efficiently burned, saturated fats and MCT oil in particular, have two positive effects on weight:
- Lower propensity to be stored as body fat. MCTs are rapidly metabolized and used for energy.
- Higher calorie burn. MCTs have a thermogenic effect (burning calories to create heat). This fat-burning process results in a metabolism boost.
There are 4 reasons why MCT oil can be burned as fuel so effectively:
- MCTs reach your liver quickly. They don’t have to go through peripheral tissues first, like LCTs do.
- MCTs don’t have to be broken down into smaller molecules. Unlike long-chain fats, the body can absorb MCTs more efficiently due to the size of their carbon bonds.
- MCTs cross the double membrane of the mitochondria quickly (the energy “factory” of the cell).
- MCTs don’t need the presence of an enzyme called carnitine to be converted to energy, like LCTs do.
In conclusion, MCTs can be quickly converted into ketones because they need less steps to be metabolized in your cells. MCT oil provides the most effective MCTs that turn into energy faster.
The Benefits of MCTs
There are numerous benefits of MCTs — ranging from weight management and gut health to mental and physical advantages.
More of these benefits include:
- Maintain healthy weight loss
- Support a healthy gut
- Improve cognitive health
- Improve heart health
- Prevent risk of diabetes
- Increase exercise performance